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Well-functioning judicial systems play a crucial role in determining economic performance – notably by guaranteeing the security of property rights and the enforcement of contracts – but not all countries’ judiciaries operate at the same level of efficiency.
Unit labour costs (ULCs) in OECD countries decreased by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2013, compared with a rise of 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012. This was driven by lower growth of labour compensation per unit of labour input (0.3% compared with 0.9% in the previous quarter), and increased labour productivity growth (0.4% compared with minus 0.2%).
Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the G20 area grew by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2013 compared with 0.6% in the previous quarter, according to preliminary estimates. However, the aggregate G20 GDP growth rate continues to mask diverging patterns across the world’s largest economies.
Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, point to moderate improvements in growth in most major economies.
Consumer prices in the OECD area rose by 1.3% in the year to April 2013, the lowest annual inflation rate since October 2009. Energy prices fell to 1.3% in the year to April, compared with an increase of 0.9% in the year to March. On the other hand, annual food price inflation rose by 2.0% in April, up from 1.7% in March. Excluding food and energy, the OECD annual inflation rate slowed to 1.4% in April, compared with 1.6% in March.
The global economy is moving forward, but divergence between countries and regions reflects the uneven progress made toward recovery from the economic crisis, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Historically high unemployment remains the most serious challenge facing governments.
Technological advances, less costly shipping and trade liberalisation have transformed the way in which companies make products and distribute them worldwide. Governments that become more open to trade and investment, and encourage innovation will help firms better integrate the global value chains that are driving growth in increasingly interconnected economies, according to new OECD research.
Provisional estimates show that quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area fell by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012, after a 0.3% increase in the previous quarter. This is the first contraction of GDP in the OECD area since the very sharp decline in the first quarter of 2009 (minus 2.3%).
Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning points in economic activity relative to trend, continue to show improvement relative to late 2012 in most major economies.
Italy has made considerable progress in strengthening its public finances and adopting wide-ranging reforms to boost economic growth. The new government must build on past achievements and ensure that they are sustained and reinforced, says a new OECD report.